Receiving Feedback: Scary?

One of the hardest aspect of communication is feedback.  Whether it’s giving or receiving feedback, it’s scary.  There are many reasons for what makes feedback daunting and in general it lies with fear.  Fear that the feedback is too harsh, not effective, not well received and so on.  However, it is essential for us if we want to grow and improve, to have feedback.  Feedback from people around us whether it’s at the workplace or at home.    It is widely perceived that receiving feedback is scarier than giving feedback.  After all, this has to do with me or you.

From my personal experience, the more specific and detailed the feedback that is given to me, the more “credible” is the feedback and therefore the open I am to receiving the feedback.  It also meant that I would spend a lot of thought process cycles to figure out what to do with the feedback.  I would encourage you to ask questions and probe deeper for specifics so that you are clear on what it is that needs to be different or changed.  Feedback that is generally not well-received are those that are emotional, not specific or detailed around a behaviour or action and not well thought out.  But let’s assume that in this situation the feedback was well thought out and well intentioned.

The best way to handle receiving feedback is to remember these 3 key principles:

1.  Intention or Purpose of the feedback.  If the intent is to help you reinforce or rectify a behaviour or action, then embrace the feedback as an area of improvement.  You don’t have to accept the feedback but you should give it a good thought or two for it might uncover a blind spot in your actions.

2.  Be open and honest with yourself.  It’s hard when we have to be self-critical but in order to grow as a person, we do need to have a good look at ourselves once in a while.  It has been said that it’s of no use to look at oneself in the mirror and the next minute forget all about it.

3.  It takes care and courage for a person to give you feedback.  It is just as scary for a person to give you feedback as it is for you to receive the feedback.  If a person cares enough about you to give you feedback, it is worth taking the time to process the feedback.

You have every right to accept or not the feedback that is given.  If it’s off the mark then ignore it and move on.  If it is somewhat on the mark, then it is worth the time and effort for you to think through it.

Think about:

1.  If the feedback is important to you, what could you do to make a change?

2.  What aspect of the feedback is something that you would make an effort towards?

3.  How would you response if the feedback is off the mark?  Hint:  Retaliating is not a smart move.

Feedback whether it was asked for or not, can be daunting but it can also be powerful element for growth and development.  Don’t shy away from it.

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